Homeowners associations (HOAs) manage many planned communities in Maryland. Various local, state, and federal regulations as well as governing documents oversee HOAs in Maryland.
Who Regulates HOAs in Maryland?
In Maryland, HOAs are regulated by theMaryland Homeowners Association Actfound in Title 11b of the Maryland Code. This act applies to residential developments with common areas run by members. This act does not apply to condominiums, cooperative housing corporations, or any development that is not for residential purposes.
An HOA is also regulated by its own governing documents. The governing documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, and other rules and regulations. However, all HOAs are different in what documents they may or may not include.
HOAs in Maryland may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:
Public inspection of HOA governing documents is at the discretion of each individual HOA. An exception would be if the individual seeking the records is also the subject of the records. Otherwise, HOA governing documents are for members and lot owners only.
All required documents filed with the Maryland Secretary of State are public records. These documents can be found online by doing aBusiness Entity Search. Some documents are available for public viewing while others require an order through the website for a fee.
Alternatively, if an HOA did file its governing documents with the Maryland Secretary of State, anyone can submit a Public Records Request with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxationhere.
HOA Powers in Maryland
In Maryland, an HOA has the power to:
Collect payments for common assessments
Collect charges to maintain and operate the common areas
Levy reasonable fines
Foreclose on a house for unpaid liens
Moreover, an HOA’s governing documents can grant added powers such as restrictions on membership, parking, fencing, and exterior paint colors.
Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Maryland?
In Maryland, HOAscanimpose fines on homeowners for late payments of assessments and other charges. Late fees can be imposed 15 days after the charge or assessment is due.
Late fees can be in the amount of $15 or 1/10 of the total late assessment, whichever is greater. Fines cannot be imposed more than once for the same late payment.
An HOAcannotfine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit)anyof the following:
Using the residence as a family child care home
Displaying candidate signs during election season
Installing or using electric vehicle charging equipment
Composting organic waste materials
Installing solar panels
Installing a portable basketball apparatus
Using “low-impact landscaping” techniques to conserve water and prevent pollution
Displaying the American flag so long as the flag is displayed in a manner consistent with federal flag display law
Installing satellite dishes and antennas
An HOA’s governing documents may include reasonable regulations and rules about the placement and manner of display regarding any of the items listed above.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Maryland?
In Maryland, an HOAcanforeclose on a homeowner’s house within its community. The process starts with an HOA placing a lien on a property when the owner neglects to pay their dues. If a lien goes unresolved, the HOA can foreclose on the house.
There isnostate provision governing an HOA’s power to evict a homeowner or tenant. These powers will be laid out in the HOA’s governing documents.
Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in Maryland?
There isnostate provision in Maryland that governs HOAs entering a homeowner’s property. Clauses of if, when, and how an HOA can enter a homeowner’s house will be listed in its governing documents.
Typically, an HOA may be able to enter a homeowner’s property in case of emergency, maintenance, or violation of any rules or regulations.
Except in the case of an emergency, reasonable notice should be provided to the homeowner before the HOA is to enter the property. A reasonable timeline can range depending on the reason for entry. Generally, reasonable notice is between three days and a couple of weeks.
Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Maryland?
The appropriate agency to file a complaint against an HOA depends on the type of complaint.
A homeowner can bring all other complaints tostatecourt in the appropriate jurisdiction by filing a claim.
Joining and Leaving an HOA in Maryland
In Maryland, there are two types of HOAs that govern joining and leaving clauses. Documents explaining the HOA and its membership rules should be presented at the closing for a new owner’s home purchase.
Mandatory HOAs.When a person buys a home, they automatically become a member required to abide by any HOA rules listed in the governing documents. This usually includes that a homeowner is not able to leave the HOA freely.
Voluntary HOAs.When a person buys a home, membership is a choice for each homeowner. If they choose to become a member, they may leave at any time by stopping their payments with the HOA.
To leave a mandatory HOA, a homeowner can sell their house or try to petition the court to have their home removed. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.
How to Dissolve an HOA in Maryland
The process for dissolution of an HOA in Maryland may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, the majority of HOA members must authorize dissolution.
If the majority of HOA members vote in favor of dissolution, the HOA must carry out any business needs such as getting rid of debts and assets. Lastly, an Articles of Dissolution must be filed with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
(e) Except as provided in § 11B-101(f) of this title, this title does not apply to any property which is: (1) Part of a condominium regime governed by Title 11 of this article; (2) Part of a cooperative housing corporation; or (3) To be occupied and used for nonresidential purposes.
(a)(1)(i) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection, all books and records kept by or on behalf of the homeowners association shall be made available for examination or copying, or both, by a lot owner, a lot owner’s mortgagee, or their respective duly authorized agents or attorneys, during normal business hours, and after reasonable notice…. (2) Books and records kept by or on behalf of a homeowners association may be withheld from public inspection, except for inspection by the person who is the subject of the record or the person’s designee or guardian…
(a)(1) As provided in the declaration, a lot owner shall be liable for all homeowners association assessments and charges that come due during the time that the lot owner owns the lot… (b) In addition to any other remedies available at law, a homeowners association may enforce the payment of the assessments and charges provided in the declaration by the imposition of a lien on a lot in accordance with the Maryland Contract Lien Act…
(a) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, a lien may be enforced and foreclosed by the party who obtained the lien in the same manner, and subject to the same requirements, as the foreclosure of mortgages or deeds of trust on property in this State containing a power of sale or an assent to a decree.
The declaration or bylaws of a homeowners association may provide for a late charge of $15 or one-tenth of the total amount of any delinquent assessment or installment, whichever is greater, provided the charge may not be imposed more than once for the same delinquent payment and may be imposed only if the delinquency has continued for at least 15 calendar days.
(ii) A homeowners association may not include a provision described under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph expressly prohibiting the use of a residence as a family child care home in its declaration, bylaws, or recorded covenants and restrictions until the lot owners, other than the developer, have 90% of the votes in the homeowners association.
…a recorded covenant or restriction, a provision in a declaration, or a provision in the bylaws or rules of a homeowners association may not restrict or prohibit the display of: (1) A candidate sign; or
(2) A sign that advertises the support or defeat of any question submitted to the voters in accordance with the Election Law Article.
Restrictions to display of candidate signs or signs relating to propositions… If a limitation to the time period during which signs may be displayed is not specified by a law of the jurisdiction in which the homeowners association is located, to a time period not less than:
(i) 30 days before the primary election, general election, or vote on the proposition; and (ii) 7 days after the primary election, general election, or vote on the proposition.
(b) A recorded covenant or restriction, a provision in a declaration, or a provision in the bylaws or rules of a homeowners association is void and unenforceable if the covenant, restriction, or provision: (1) Is in conflict with the provisions of this section; or (2) Effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts the installation or use of electric vehicle recharging equipment in a lot owner’s deeded parking space or a parking space that is specifically designated for use by a particular owner.
(b) A recorded covenant or restriction, a provision in a declaration, or a provision in the bylaws or rules of a homeowners association may not prohibit or unreasonably restrict a lot owner from: (1) Composting organic waste materials for the lot owner’s personal or household use…
(b)(1) A restriction on use regarding land use may not impose or act to impose unreasonable limitations on the installation of a solar collector system on the roof or exterior walls of improvements, provided that the property owner owns or has the right to exclusive use of the roof or exterior walls.
(b)(1) A restriction on use regarding land use may not impose or act to impose an unreasonable limitation on the location and use of a portable basketball apparatus, provided that the property owner owns or has the right to exclusive use of the area in which placement and use of the portable basketball apparatus is to occur.
(b)(1) A restriction on use regarding land use may not impose or act to impose unreasonable limitations on low-impact landscaping, provided that the property owner: (i) Owns or has the right to exclusive use of the property; and (ii) Maintains and regularly tends to the low-impact landscaping.
A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.
Enforceable placement preferences must be clearly articulated in writing and made available to all residents of the community in question. A requirement that an antenna be located where reception or transmission would be impossible or substantially degraded is prohibited by the rule… A valid enforceable placement preference should not contain prohibited provisions such as prior approval or require professional installation… when an antenna is professionally installed, the installer often determines the location of the antenna at the time of installation based upon the type of antenna installed and the ability of the antenna to receive an acceptable quality signal.
(2) Notwithstanding the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules, or regulations of a common ownership community, a governing body may foreclose on a lien against a unit owner or lot owner only if the damages secured by the lien: (i) Consist of: 1. Delinquent periodic assessments or special assessments and any interest; and 2. Reasonable costs and attorney’s fees directly related to the filing of the lien that do not exceed the amount of the delinquent assessments, excluding any interest; and (ii) Do not include fines imposed by the governing body or attorney’s fees or costs related to recovering the fines.
…an HOA representative can enter an owner’s unit in emergency situations, or for health and safety reasons… Many HOAs also have the right to enter an owner’s unit to maintain common elements… An HOA might also have the right to enter an owner’s unit to inspect for a violation of the development’s rules or regulations. Normally this is allowed only if the HOA has good reason to believe a violation is occurring… State statutes commonly require that HOAs provide an owner with “reasonable” notice. What’s considered “reasonable” depends on the situation. For example, prior notice of between three days and a week might be reasonable for an HOA wishing to enter an owner’s unit to perform periodic common area maintenance… if immediate entrance is necessary for health or safety reasons (such as if there is a fire in the unit), minimal or no notice is probably acceptable.
… membership in voluntary HOAs is optional… If you enter into a voluntary HOA, you can leave whenever you want by stopping your payments, although you’ll stop receiving the benefits of the HOA… When you buy a house in a community governed by a mandatory HOA, you automatically become a dues-owing HOA member. When you become a member, you stay a member for as long as you own the property or until the HOA is dissolved (which is very rare). At your home’s closing, you will have to sign documents agreeing to abide by the HOAs rules and pay any assessments, fees, or fines associated with the HOA or incurred by violating HOA rules…. Unless you can gain enough support in your community to let you leave the HOA voluntarily, you will have to hire an attorney to try to convince a judge that you should be allowed to leave.
… dissolution is authorized by a resolution approved by a majority of the nonprofit’s entire board of directors…After a majority of your board has approved the dissolution, you must file articles of dissolution with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (“SDAT”)… After your board approves dissolution, your nonprofit continues to exist only for the purpose of taking care of certain final matters that, collectively, are known as “winding up” the company…